Eric S. Raymond -- OSI clarifies the status of the APSL
Mar 19, 1999, 19:48 (14 Talkback[s])
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From: "Eric S. Raymond" <<a
Earlier today (16 March 1999) Bruce Perens, Wichert Akkerman,
and Ian Jackson issued an open letter titled The Apple Public
Source License - Our Concerns alleging that the Open Source
Initiative acted incorrectly in certifying the Apple Public Source
License as being conformant with the Open Source Definition.
It is OSI's position that the claims in this open letter are
entirely mistaken; they are founded on erroneous readings of the
license and of applicable common and statute law.
First, in regard to Section 2.2(c), the reporting requirement.
The open letter suggests a scenario in which Apple's demise would
leave open-source developers unable to comply with 2.2(c), which
would in turn cause their rights to lapse. This reading ignores the
severability language in clause 13.6. If Apple dies, clause 2.2(c)
becomes ipso facto unenforceable and (under 13.6) is voided without
compromising the remainder of the license.
Second, in regard to 9.1. Equating this language to the Jikes
patent clause is simply wrong. To see this, note the qualification
``Affected Original Code''. We discussed this point with Apple in
detail; what Apple is reserving is the right to withdraw not the
entire ``Original Code'' (as in the Jikes license) but
only those parts directly touched by the infringement.
This means precisely those portions which an infringement
lawsuit could force open-source developers to stop using if Apple
were not involved. This clause merely covers Apple's liability
under law; it does not create any more exposure for open-source
developers than would exist under U.S. patent law if it were not
The OSI rejects the open letter's implicit contention that
``Eric Raymond [...] jumped a little too fast to embrace the
APSL''. The OSI Board requested -- and got -- substantial changes
from Apple before the APSL was made public. The Board then acted
unanimously in authorizing Eric to publicly endorse it on behalf of
The OSI stands behind its endorsement, applauds Apple's vision,
and confidently expects the APSL terms will serve as a model for
the open-sourcing of other Apple technologies -- perhaps, indeed,
for the open-sourcing of operating systems from other computer
systems manufacturers now that Apple has taken the first